Pro tip: Don’t pack for the apocalypse. You aren’t going into the middle of nowhere; you will be walking through cities and towns all the time. Better to stock up when you need to than carry everything on your back.
Invest in a proper backpack
Don’t get stuck using a backpack without proper support. If you don’t already own a hiking bag, go in-person to a sports store and have them fit you properly for one. An uneven pack can wreak havoc on your whole body.
Do you need a sleeping bag or a liner?
Sleeping bags aren’t necessary along Le Puy. Everywhere I stayed had bedding, including heavy blankets. I wouldn’t bother with the extra weight and bulk unless you plan to camp.
If you continue on into Spain, this is not the case. The Donativo hostels in Spain have rubbery mattresses and no bedding to minimize bedbugs. You’ll want at least a liner.
Buying a small tube of hand-wash detergent is a good idea. I suggest the “sans frottement” (no scrubbing) kind sold in general stores (like Casino) along the way. There are some good eco-friendly brands out there.
Just fill a basin with water and a bit of detergent, toss in your clothes and wait 30 minutes. Rinse and hang to dry!
Get your Pilgrim Credential on Day 1
Your Pilgrim Credential (or Pilgrim Passport) is a little booklet where each hostel, church, and tourism office you visit can place their stamp. It’s necessary to have at least one stamp a day if you plan on getting the Compostela in Santiago (a beautiful proof of completion diploma) with the full distance you walked. Even if you don’t plan on walking all the way to Santiago, the Credential is pretty central to the Camino experience.
Credentials should cost no more than €3-€5.
Credentials from the Cathedral in Le Puy
You can get your Pilgrim’s Credential (pay by donation) at the Cathedral shop after Mass and benediction. Go directly to the Remise de la Cathedrale, open every day after 7AM.
Credentials from The Pilgrim’s Association in Le Puy
The association “Les Amis de Saint Jacques” provides assistance to pilgrims in Le Puy between 5:30PM to 7:30PM, including selling credentials. They’re located at 2 rue de la Manécanterie.